NSA director Theodore Anders has a simple goal: collect every phone call, email, and keystroke tapped on the Internet. He knows unlimited surveillance is the only way to keep America safe. The problem is someone knows about it and want to leak it to the press a la Snowden, and NSA employees and strangers get caught up in ways they could barely have imagined.
You see, if you’re interested in the real life stories of the NSA’s surveillance, whistleblowers, the ongoing battle between government’s capabilities and personal privacy, then this book should at least be of interest to you. If you’re worried about those things, then this book will likely put you very on edge on what capabilities do exist under the surface, ready to replace the next program that’s exposed.
The first half can be a slog – there’s bits that catch your interest and then they can be lost in the detail, but at some point I looked at the corner and was 10% further on in a blink, then another 10%. It’s a political thriller that makes you think about real life – quite how much can they see of you? How much can they know? It’s the battle between journalists and the government, unveiling secrets that people should know but could endanger a country’s systems against a government constantly overstepping what they should be able to access.
It’s unsettling, and while 90% of the NSA that you come across may as well have to little horns and a spork (minus Evie who you’ll root for and, at some points, Manus), it does make you think about what goes on behind those walls, what they’re planning. Basically, you’ll finish the book and maybe need a little time away from technology… just in case (but only after you’ve posted your book review because that’s sensible!).
2nd February 2016 | Thomas & Mercer